Choose: Define yourself or let others define you … how do you wish to live?

Remember the choose your own adventure books?  You know, the ones where you would read a short section of story and then be faced with an either/or decision.  Some choices turned out great, some not so great, and others random happenstance but they were all adventures.  Personally, I think these books should have had a warning label “consider these choices practices for real life, dragons come in many guises”.

All day long we make decisions.  Some are easy, some are not, some inconsequential, some like the wings of a butterfly (When a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world it causes a hurricane in another part of the world, author unknown).  In the end our life develops due to a series of choices.  How do we make better choices?  Live in the present moment, don’t make decisions in the extreme of any emotion (positive or negative), use wisdom to evaluate all options and above all else be true to yourself.

Also, all we can do is control our choices, actions and reactions.  We cannot control how others will act or react to our choices.  However, I believe if we handle our choices and convey them with as much honesty, grace and dignity as possible then we have done our best.

Is this an easy way to live?  No, but I have tried to play by the rules others have set for me.  I have tried to fit into boxes and definitions that other have placed on me.  I have tried to live up to others expectations.  I have tried to live the life I was raised to believe I wanted.  In many ways I have found happiness as well as an abundance of love and friendship (for which I am more grateful than there are words); however it also brought me depression, anxiety, panic attacks, heart ache and more tears than I can count.  In hindsight, the greatest periods of happiness, love and friendship have come from me being true to myself.

Now, as I move forward into a new decade of my life I face the biggest dragon of all … To thine own self be true each and every moment of this life.  I am learning to place my well-being first, before my loved ones and without be self-centered.  I am aware there is a fine line to this.  Will it be easy, no.  However, nothing worthwhile is ever easy.  We all have dragons to slay, that is just a fact of life.  For most of us our dragons are in the form of work, bills, illness, daily grind, addiction, health, relationships, etc., they are our modern-day dragons.  The real choice is are you your own hero or are you waiting for someone to rescue you?

In many ways I have been my own hero and in other ways I have been rescued.  For years I have been on a quest to Know Thyself.  During this journey I have made choices, had ah-ha moments, great insight, horrid mistakes, lived and learned.  What I have been blessed with is the wisdom to learn from each experience (hopefully!) and met some amazing friends.  These relationships have shown me much about myself.  Their love, honesty and loyalty have rescued me when I could not rescue myself.  Invaluable insight can be gained from loved ones if you are brave enough to hear it and they brave enough to speak wisdom and observation.